I heard a pretty remarkable story about work life balance over the weekend.
Some friends and I were having brunch at east coast park with our families. The topic drifted towards work-life balance after a friend recounted why he quit investment banking after only 5 years.
(For those of you not familiar, the 5 year mark is when the money starts to get very crazy large. Most analysts slog the first few years in the hopes of one day reaching these riches)
Peter, the 5-year investment banker, told us this story:
First day on the job at the new firm I’m following HR person to my assigned desk. For those who haven’t been inside an investment bank the layout is basically:
Managing directors: large office with window. If you are the head of a group you get a corner office and pick your furniture.
Vice Presidents: small office with windows
The rest: associates, analysts and secretaries are all in cubicles far from the windows
As I follow HR person I walk past the cubicles and she opens the door of a large office.
HR Staff: Here you are
Peter: Is this correct? I’m an associate. Shouldn’t I be getting a cubicle and not an office?
HR Staff: I know but we are short on space and we are relocating some people so you will be here for a week or two.
Peter: But isn’t this Mr. X’s office?
HR Staff: Yes, but he will be out for a while … Probably back in 2 months.
Peter: What happened to him?
HR Staff: Heart attack, but he will be fine.
Peter: How old was he?
HR Staff: 34
It was at that moment I realised that this job was no joke. It pays very well because the pressure is so large. Even though I was just starting, I promised myself that once I hit a certain level of financial net worth, I’d quit.
I reached that target amount just after 5 years. So I left.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I enjoyed the money, it bought be a lot of comfort. But I knew once I had gotten enough money. I recognised that I had to pay attention to my health. I have a family to take care of. A life to live. Money is useless if you’re in the grave.
That was a pretty deep conversation. Immediately after our brunch ended. I made arrangements to get some exercise. We only have 1 body. 1 chance to take care of our health.
Health is going to be one of my top priorities this new year.
How about you? What will be your priority this year?
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